Dickerson Insurance, an Alera Group, Acquires GA Shepler and Fear

Big news in California insurance agency circles: Dickerson Insurance Services, an Alera Group, announced it has acquired Roseville, California-based Shepler & Fear General Agency. Shepler & Fear, co-founded in 2009 by David Fear, Sr., a Cal Broker editorial advisory board member and past president of CAHU and NAHU, specializes in employee benefits for large, small and self-funded companies. Last year, Dickerson, founded by Carl Dickerson in 1965, became an Alera Group Company. Alera was formed in early 2017 and is now one of the nation’s leading independent insurance agencies. Located near L.A.’s Dodger Stadium, Dickerson is led by managing partners Tony Lee and Michael Wolff.  Cal Broker wishes the companies a happy and productive union!

NAHU Conference Coming to San Diego

The National Association of Health Underwriters is holding its annual convention in California this year. The event will take place June 28-July 2 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. There will be personal and professional growth forums. Sessions focus on practical solutions for your business, including retaining today’s new workforce, buying or selling your agency, data transparency and alternative healthcare management.  There’s also an expanded Medicare Extreme! with proven practices and important trends on changes in Medicare, technology solutions, growing your business with group Medicare sales plus more.  More info here. See you in San Deigo!


AHPs Must Cover Essential Benefits

The Department of Labor says that association health plans can continue covering current members but can’t add new enrollees. This new advisory was posted after an adverse March 28 judicial decision that found previous DOL advice unlawful. BestWire reports that New York State Acting Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell says that the plans must now cover the 10 Affordable Care Act (ACA) essential health benefits.  Association Health Plans must now, at a minimum, meet key ACA provisions, such as the Essential Health Benefits Package, regardless of whether these vital benefits were originally covered under the plan’s terms. Anything less violates the law, according to Lacewell. Insurance regulators in Vermont also issued a bulletin barring existing AHPs from advertising or enrolling new employer groups while litigation is pending.
Second House Hearing on Medicare for All

Mark your calendar for May 22. That’s when the House will be holding its second “Medicare for All” hearing. This time, money will be a focus and three reps from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will testify on how much such a plan might really cost.

Washington State Governor Signs First Public Option Insurance Bill

Our neighbors to the north are moving forward with an insurance vision. Governor Jay Inslee has signed a first-in-the-nation bill to provide public health care plans that cover standard services to all residents, regardless of income, by 2021. The plans will be administered by private insurance companies, but the terms will be set by the state. Inslee, who has announced a bid for presidency, called the bill a “template” for the whole country.

Los Angeles Grabs No. 2  Spot of Potential Measles Outbreak

Los Angeles County rates near the top of places where there’s a high risk of a measles outbreak, according to a recent study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Researchers created a quantitative model to determine measles outbreak risk for U.S. counties based on four factors: population, nonmedical vaccine exemption rates, international air travel volume and measles incidence in the countries the travelers visit.

They identified 50 counties nationwide at high risk of experiencing a measles outbreak. Here’s the top 10 list:

  1. Cook County, Ill.
  2. Los Angeles County
  3. Miami-Dade County, Fla.
  4. Queens County, N.Y.
  5. King County, Wash.
  6. Maricopa County, Ariz.
  7. Broward County, Fla.
  8. Clark County, Nev.
  9. Harris County, Texas
  10. Honolulu County, Hawaii


Hodges-Mace Wins Top 25 HR Technology Provider Award for Delivering Personalized Benefit Solutions to Drive Employee Engagement

Hodges-Mace, an innovator in benefit management software and services and a regular contributor to Cal Broker editorial pages, has been named a 2019 Top 25 HR Technology Provider by CIO Applications Magazine.  The annual award recognizes companies who deliver game-changing solutions to simplify and improve the benefits selection experience and enhance employee engagement. Recently, Hodges-Mace integrated their SmartBen benefits management platform with Amazon Alexa, boosting employee engagement.  A secure, cloud-based system that runs on any device, SmartBen also features an integrated mobile app that is vendor agnostic, providing employees with a single platform where they can access all benefits info. This year, readers nominated 50 companies for the prestigious Top 25 HR Technology Provider Award. Winners were selected by the publication’s advisory board. Hodges-Mace President and Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Andrews, was interviewed about the company’s unique value proposition by the editor of CIO Applications in the current issue.

Ease Announces Strategic Relationship with Brown & Brown Insurance to Enhance HR and Benefit Services for SMBs Nationwide

San Francisco-based Ease, a HR and benefits software solution for SMBs, insurance brokers, and insurance carriers, announced a partnership with insurance broker Brown & Brown. Through the strategic relationship, Brown & Brown will offer the Ease technology solution as part of their benefit offerings, providing a new layer of efficiency and simplicity for their brokers and the employers they service. Through this relationship, all Brown & Brown offices will have access to the Ease system throughout the entire country to offer to their customers. This access will particularly benefit the small and mid-sized employers that Brown & Brown brokers support, as it will provide them with HR and benefit solutions usually reserved for larger enterprises. Ease’s software gives agencies of all sizes the opportunity to digitize their client records, protect their book of business and increase commissions from clients down to two employees. More than 1.5 million employees have used Ease to complete enrollment in more than 16 million benefit plans since inception.

MassMutual Intros Student Loan Repayment & Management Program

MassMutual unveiled a new workplace student loan repayment and management program. The program is available to employers through Tuition.io and will be part of MassMutual’s MapMyFinances, the company’s new workplace financial and benefits planning tool. Two levels of support will be offered, both of which help borrowers better manage their student debt, including one that allows employers to provide financial assistance to extinguish debts. Employers can also choose to make payment toward student loans that parents have taken out for their children, known as Parent PLUS loans. Additionally, the Tuition.io student loan wellness section of the portal helps borrowers manage their debt by creating a consolidated summary of all student loans for each participating employee by pulling in data from multiple loans and loan servicers. The Tuition.io platform works with every U.S. loan servicer – including both federal and privately held loans — to generate automatic real-time updates whenever loan payments are made. Once the student loan solution has been elected by an employer and implemented through Tuition.io, MassMutual integrates the program as part of its MapMyFinances financial wellness tool. Employees can use the tool to add student debt repayment to their financial “To Do” list and use an actionable link to Tuition.io’s employee online experience, leveraging single sign-on from MapMyFinances. The student loan program has a cost associated with it. Tuition.io helps employers project both the program and loan repayment potential costs, and weigh them against the projected benefits.


Time to Talk to Your Clients’ Kids!

Emily Zuiz at Think Advisor reports that more than $60 trillion in assets are poised to pass between generations during the next 25 years and yet many advisors are missing out. Research from global research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates finds that only 13% of affluent investors report that they choose to work with the same advisor whom their parents used. Surprising: the vast majority of investors who inherit wealth say they never even considered using their parents’ advisor.


CAHU Capitol Summit & Expo
May 20-22, Sawyer Hotel, Sacramento

Join CAHU in Sacramento at the Sawyer Hotel for information about California and the future outlook for the industry. Hear from Commissioner Lara, representatives from the Governor’s office, legislators, political insiders and more about where California is headed.

Work alongside peers and other members as CAHU works to educate representatives on the critical role of the agent. Register here.

IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference
June 12-14, 2019, New York City

NAHU Annual Convention –We’ll see you here!
June 29-July 2, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Keynote speaker is Retired Master Sergeant Cedric King. Sessions focus on practical solutions for your business, including retaining today’s new workforce, buying or selling your agency, data transparency and alternative healthcare management.  And there’s an expanded Medicare Extreme! with proven practices and important trends on changes in Medicare, technology solutions, growing your business with group Medicare sales plus more.  Plus plenty of opportunity to visit with a variety of vendors and network with colleagues More info here.

NAAIA National Conference
Sept 11-13, Atlanta- SAVE THE DATE!
Leaders from across the insurance and financial services profession will come together at this high ­energy industry event to further the education, advancement and uplifting of African American insurance professionals. More info soon at www.naaia.org.





Alliance of Comprehensive Planners 2019 Annual Conference
Nov. 12-15, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego

​​​​​​The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP)  is a community of tax-focused financial planners who provide planning strategies for clients on a fee-only retainer basis. Conference early bird registration rates (which expire Oct. 11, 2019) are in effect now. Participation is open to all interested financial professionals. Companies interested in sponsoring the ACP Annual Conference should contact Jill Colsch at jill@acplanners.org. The agenda is available here: https://2019.acplanners.org/home.



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